The new UK managing director of MSC Cruises has insisted he is not looking to repeat a strategy he spearheaded at former employee Carnival UK.
Speaking to Travel Weekly on his first day in his new position, Giles Hawke moved to reassure agents that he wouldn’t be “coming in and slashing commission”.
When asked about commission, he said: “I think most of the big commission moves in the market have already been made. The market has been stabilised, discounting is largely gone.
“MSC is in a good place and well positioned and I don’t see going in to the market and slashing commission happening.”
He added: “You do different things at different companies. There isn’t a one size fits all model, whatever the industry you don’t move from one company to another and decide to repeat everything that you did before.
“To reassure travel agents, I haven’t come in here with a mindset to repeat everything I did at Carnival UK.”
Hawke reiterated the importance of travel agents in helping to raise brand awareness for MSC.
He said: “I want people going into travel agents and asking about MSC because they already have awareness and I also want travel agents to know what MSC is all about and to understand the brand.
“I think currently you ask 10 different travel agents to tell you about MSC Cruises and you get 10 different answers.
“I would like 10 agents and 10 answers that are the same.
“I’m in the listening, learning and understanding mode for the next few months – then working out how we market to customers and give them clarity and getting people’s minds more on the brand than they have ever been before.”
Giles said MSC had always been a very trade-focused brand, and maintained that would not change. He said the line would be doing more ship visits and fam trips for agents because agents represent a large proportion of MSCs sales.
In the short term, Giles said he would be meeting with key agents to hear their thoughts on MSC, he hopes to see a many agents as possible before the end of the year.
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